Someone objected to the Catholic teaching on the Real Presence by arguing the Eucharist was never adored in the Early Church, thus the substances of bread and wine were never revered. This person also claimed there are no records of Eucharistic miracles nor allusions to any concept associated to transubstantiation. Below is a breakdown of my attempt to address each issue.
𝗔𝗱𝗼𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗘𝘂𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗶𝘀𝘁.
I will start with the quotations from St. Augustine.
“What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that THE BREAD IS THE BODY OF CHRIST AND THE CHALICE [WINE] THE BLOOD OF CHRIST.” (Sermons 272)
“FOR CHRIST WAS CARRIED IN HIS OWN HANDS, WHEN, REFERRING TO HIS OWN BODY, HE SAID: ‘THIS IS MY BODY.’ FOR HE CARRIED THAT BODY IN HIS HANDS.” (Psalms 33:1:10)
“He walked here in the same flesh, AND GAVE US THE SAME FLESH TO BE EATEN UNTO SALVATION. BUT NO ONE EATS THAT FLESH 𝙐𝙉𝙇𝙀𝙎𝙎 𝙃𝙀 𝙁𝙄𝙍𝙎𝙏𝙎 𝘼𝘿𝙊𝙍𝙀𝙎 𝙄𝙏; and thus it is discovered how such a footstool of the Lord’s feet is adored; AND NOT ONLY DO WE NOT SIN BY ADORING, WE DO SIN BY NOT ADORING.” (Enarr. Psalm 98:9)
St. Basil (330-379 AD) would divide the Eucharist in three parts: one to be consumed by him, one for his monks and a third one to be placed in a golden dove suspended above the altar to be adored.
By the 11th century, not the 13th, Eucharistic Adoration in the modern form was already widespread.
𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗲𝗹𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀.
St Ephraim (306-373 AD) writes in his Homilies 4:4, 4:6.
“Do not now regard as bread that which I have given you; but take, eat this Bread [of life], and 𝙙𝙤 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙨𝙘𝙖𝙩𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙘𝙧𝙪𝙢𝙗𝙨; for what I have called My Body, that it is indeed. One particle from its crumbs is able to sanctify thousands and thousands, and is sufficient to afford life to those who eat of it.”
Origen (185-254 AD) in his 13th Homily on Exodus writes:
“I wish to admonish you with examples from your religious practices. You who are accustomed to take part in the divine mysteries know, when you receive the body of the Lord, how you protect it with all caution and veneration 𝙡𝙚𝙨𝙩 𝙖𝙣𝙮 𝙨𝙢𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙩 𝙛𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙞𝙩, lest anything of the consecrated gift be lost. For you believe, and correctly, that you are answerable if anything falls from there by neglect. But if you are so careful to preserve his body, and rightly so, how do you think that there is less guilt to have neglected God’s word than to have neglected his body?”
Though the first officially recognized eucharistic miracle took place in the 8th century in Lanciano, there are early testimonies of other extraordinary events. Take the ‘Sayings of the Desert Fathers’:
[…] “The old man received this saying with joy and he prayed in these words, “Lord, you know that it is not through malice that I do not believe and so that I may not err through ignorance, reveal this mystery to me, Lord Jesus Christ.” The old men returned to their cells and they also prayed God, saying, “Lord Jesus Christ, reveal this mystery to the old man, that he may believe and not lose his reward.” God heard both the prayers. At the end of the week they came to church on Sunday and sat all three on the same mat, the old man in the middle. 𝙏𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙞𝙧 𝙚𝙮𝙚𝙨 𝙬𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙤𝙥𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙙 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙗𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙙 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙥𝙡𝙖𝙘𝙚𝙙 𝙤𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙝𝙤𝙡𝙮 𝙩𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙚, 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙖𝙥𝙥𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙙 𝙖𝙨 𝙞𝙩 𝙬𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙖 𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙩𝙡𝙚 𝙘𝙝𝙞𝙡𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙨𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙧𝙚𝙚 𝙖𝙡𝙤𝙣𝙚. And when the priest put out his hand to break the bread, behold an angel descended from heaven with a sword and poured the child’s blood into the chalice. When the priest cut the bread into small pieces, the angel also cut the child in pieces. 𝙒𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙮 𝙙𝙧𝙚𝙬 𝙣𝙚𝙖𝙧 𝙩𝙤 𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙚𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙨𝙖𝙘𝙧𝙚𝙙 𝙚𝙡𝙚𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙤𝙡𝙙 𝙢𝙖𝙣 𝙖𝙡𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙚𝙞𝙫𝙚𝙙 𝙖 𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙨𝙚𝙡 𝙤𝙛 𝙗𝙡𝙤𝙤𝙙𝙮 𝙛𝙡𝙚𝙨𝙝. 𝙎𝙚𝙚𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙝𝙚 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙖𝙛𝙧𝙖𝙞𝙙 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙘𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙙 𝙤𝙪𝙩, “𝙇𝙤𝙧𝙙, 𝙄 𝙗𝙚𝙡𝙞𝙚𝙫𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙗𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙙 𝙞𝙨 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙛𝙡𝙚𝙨𝙝 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙘𝙚 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙗𝙡𝙤𝙤𝙙.” 𝙄𝙢𝙢𝙚𝙙𝙞𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙡𝙮 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙛𝙡𝙚𝙨𝙝, 𝙬𝙝𝙞𝙘𝙝 𝙝𝙚 𝙝𝙚𝙡𝙙 𝙞𝙣 𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙙, 𝙗𝙚𝙘𝙖𝙢𝙚 𝙗𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙙, 𝙖𝙘𝙘𝙤𝙧𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙢𝙮𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙮 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙝𝙚 𝙩𝙤𝙤𝙠 𝙞𝙩, 𝙜𝙞𝙫𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙠𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙂𝙤𝙙. Then the old men said to him, “God knows human nature and that man cannot eat raw flesh and that is why he has changed his body into bread and his blood into wine, for those who receive it in faith.” […]
I would argue though, that the earliest Eucharistic miracles happened in the NT. Take the Luke’s Road to Emmaus:
“𝙒𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙝𝙚 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙖𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙩𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙚 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙢, 𝙝𝙚 𝙩𝙤𝙤𝙠 𝙗𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙙, 𝙗𝙡𝙚𝙨𝙨𝙚𝙙 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙗𝙧𝙤𝙠𝙚 𝙞𝙩, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙜𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙞𝙩 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙢. 𝙏𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙞𝙧 𝙚𝙮𝙚𝙨 𝙬𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙤𝙥𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙙, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙮 𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙤𝙜𝙣𝙞𝙯𝙚𝙙 𝙝𝙞𝙢; 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙝𝙚 𝙫𝙖𝙣𝙞𝙨𝙝𝙚𝙙 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙞𝙧 𝙨𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” 𝙏𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙮 𝙩𝙤𝙡𝙙 𝙬𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙝𝙖𝙙 𝙝𝙖𝙥𝙥𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙙 𝙤𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙧𝙤𝙖𝙙, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙝𝙤𝙬 𝙝𝙚 𝙝𝙖𝙙 𝙗𝙚𝙚𝙣 𝙢𝙖𝙙𝙚 𝙠𝙣𝙤𝙬𝙣 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙢 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙗𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙠𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙗𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙙.” (Lk 24:30-35)
If you pay close attention, the apparitions of Jesus often take place in the Lord’s Day, when the disciples get together to break the bread.
𝗢𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗲𝗳 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘀𝘂𝗯𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻.
Justin Martyr (100-165 AD) is the clearest:
For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by 𝙩𝙧𝙖𝙣𝙨𝙢𝙪𝙩𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.” (First Apology, 66)
St Irenaeus (140-202 AD):
“When, therefore, the mixed cup and the baked bread receives the Word of God and BECOMES THE EUCHARIST, THE BODY OF CHRIST, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, WHICH IS ETERNAL LIFE — flesh which is nourished BY THE BODY AND BLOOD OF THE LORD…receiving the Word of God, BECOMES THE EUCHARIST, WHICH IS THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST…” (Against Heresies 5:2:2-3).
Origen again writes:
“We give thanks to the Creator of all, and, along with thanksgiving and prayer for the blessings we have received, we also eat the bread presented to us; and this bread BECOMES BY PRAYER A SACRED BODY, which sanctifies those who sincerely partake of it.” (Against Celsus 8:33)